Sanctions aimed at the leader of a nation affects more than just the leader, according to Maha Ayesh, treasurer of the Muslim Student Association. The citizens pay the price as well, she said.
Dr. Rania Masri will discuss this topic Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in the University Center Ballroom in a lecture titled, "Iraq Beyond Saddam."
As part of the third program of the Unveiling Ignorance Series, Masri will address the embargo placed on Iraq in 1990 by the United Nations Security Council.
Masri coordinates the Iraq Action Coalition which distributes information of the effects of sanctions and war on the people of Iraq. She is also a national board member of the Peace Action and the Education for Peace in Iraq Center and the 1999 recipient of the International Human Rights Award in North Carolina.
According to Sadaf Shaukat, a member of the MSA, the sanctions were placed in 1990 at the start of the Gulf War and the sanctions forbade Iraq to trade with other nations including trade for food, medicine and other essential supplies.
Shaukat said that the U.S. and Britain are the only two countries that are for the sanctions today.
"We have children who are dying of common diseases that would have been cured easily if they had just been given medicine," Ayesh said.
"UNICEF has a poll that says 250 children die a day," Shaukat said.
A perception that a lot of people have, said Ayesh, is that people tend to think of the nation as embodied by the leader.
"We don't have to punish the people for having bad leaders," Ayesh said. "What we want to do is show that Iraq is not just Saddam Hussein. There is a whole civilization and society of people who are suffering because of measures that are taken out that are aimed at their leader, such as Saddam Hussein, whom they don't even support."
Shaukat said there is a lot of ignorance about this issue, and Shaukat said she herself did not know a lot about what was happening in Iraq. She said that lecture will help to dispel some of the ignorance with Masri's knowledge of the issue.
"We just want the campus and the students to be educated about what's going on and we feel like they have a right to know what policies the government has enacted," Shaukat said.
Ayesh added that this does not justify terrorism or violence on any scale. The lecture is just a chance for people to start questioning our own actions on other people she said.
"People around the world, no matter where they are from or what they look like all deserve the same common human rights, and some of those rights are the right to food and the right to medicine and the right to live in a secure environment," Ayesh said.
"I have a feeling that people feel that if they acknowledge other people's suffering in the world that it somehow invalidates their own suffering. But I really don't think it works that way. I think it is a time to reflect on our common community," Ayesh added.